Community and alienation

Raye Chell Mahela

Throughout my life, growing up and being part of online communities, I was always in one way or another put down and felt alienated, no matter the type of group. And so many people online hold the ability to say anything to anyone to be “sacred”. But that’s not how I run my communities.

I built an educational game development-oriented ecosystem for the past decade or so, and the #1 rule was to treat others with respect. In a community based around learning, one of the biggest enemies is feeling alienated.

As I began learning conlangs, I experienced the same alienation, over and over again. Part of the reason I started “La Aliuloj”, which is now Áya Dan, is because of this alienation. I want to create an environment, a blog, an educational and fun resource that does not alienate people. Because there are plenty of places to go to if you want to feel like shit.

For me, I’d much rather spend my energy supporting people, than trying to debate/argue with others who aren’t going to have their minds changed. When I create videos about asexuality, it is in the hopes of letting others know “See? You’re not alone”, moreso than trying to argue with the vitriol that one sees when they try to post about it.

And that extends to everybody. I don’t want to see anybody being shat on. And this includes religion. There are many people in this world, and many people are good, and many people are also religious.

I’m a firm believer that, even if religion didn’t exist, individuals would still find ways to be assholes to each other.

So let’s not be assholes to each other. Let’s treat each other with a mutual respect, and support each other, and cheer each other on, and create a supportive community where we can all come together and enjoy language.

Kiel ne respondi al plendoj pri diskriminado en la Esperanto-movado

Kiam marĝenuloj plendas pri diskriminado, ĉu en la Esperanto-movado aŭ aliloke, la maniero kiel oni respondas al la plendo tre gravas. Iuj formoj de respondo nur plu doloras la plendanton, kiu evidente jam estas sufiĉe vundita pro la evento, kiu kaŭzis la plendon.

Alfronte de raporto pri diskriminado en la Esperanto-movado kontraŭ marĝenuloj, oni nepre:

1. Ne diru, ke “tio ne okazas en nia movado.” Farante tion, vi nomas la marĝenulon mensoganto, sed kial marĝenulo mensogus pri tio? Kia estus la profito? Ekzistas kruela kaj sufiĉe reakciema mito, ke iuj marĝenuloj serĉas ion por ofendi ilin. Tiu mito estas ne nur kruela sed ankaŭ absurda. Raporti diskriminadon estas ege maltrankvilige pro tio ke marĝenuloj, bedaŭrinde, jam alkutimis al nevalidigo, sarkasmo, kaj plua psika dolorado respondaj al raporto.

2. Ne citu la internan ideon, la Prag-Manifeston, aŭ alian Esperanto-literaturaĵon. Tiuj malvivaj abstraktaĵoj neniel tuŝas la viv-spertojn de marĝenuloj. Ili estas, maksimume, idealoj, kiuj evidente ankoraŭ ne realiĝis se ĉi tia plendo ĵus alvenis antaŭ vi.

3. Ne rimarku, ke vi konas alian anon de tiu marĝena grupo, kiu neniam plendis. Imagu, ke marĝenulino frapis vian kapon, vi diris “Ĉesu!” kaj ŝi respondis, “Sed mia amiko Joĉjo estas blanka, aliseksama, cisgenra, nehandikapa, maldika, riĉa viro, kaj li neniam plendas kiam mi faras tion!” Ĉu tio estus bona kialo plu frapadi vin?

4. Ne parolu pri “veraj Esperantistoj” kaj “malveraj Esperantistoj.” Tio ne nur estas logika misrezonaĵo, sed samkiel #2, ĝi estas tro abstrakta. Kiel la pureco de la atakinto ŝanĝas la sperton de la marĝenulo? Ĝi neniel tuŝas tiun sperton. Ĝi estas tute nerilata al la problemo.

5. Ne parolu pri libero de parolado. La disputo neniel temas pri rajtoj. Ankaŭ rajtoj estas malvivaj abstraktaĵoj; vi parolas al reala persono, kiu spertis realan doloron. Plue, la Esperanto-movado ne estas registaro, nek la marĝenulo argumentas, ke registaroj forĵetu liberon de parolado. Ĉiu movado havas la plenan liberon forigi aŭ korekti kiun ajn membron laŭplaĉe. Aldone, en la granda plimulto da landoj kun leĝoj, kiuj protektas liberan paroladon, malama parolado ne estas protektita, ĉar ĝi timigas marĝenulojn kaj, sekve, malplimultigas ilian liberon! Ĉu vi kredas, ke marĝenuloj povas libere paroli alfronte de timigado fare de reakciemuloj? Ĉu aktive aŭ pasive, vi faros elekton, ĉu malplifortigi la povon de potenculoj timigi marĝenulojn aŭ plifortigi tiun povon.

6. Ne diru, ke marĝenuloj pli facile konvinkus aliajn homojn se ili agus pli afable. Nu, bone pripensu tion dum momento. Vi parolas al senpotenculo, kiu koleras pro la malafableco de plipotenculoj. Potenculoj kutime plendas malpli ofte (kaj ofte neniam) pri tiu malafableco, ol la tiel nomata “malafabla respondo.” Kial malafableco nur gravas kiam ĝi venas el marĝenulo? Ĉu tio estas malfacila demando? Kiam vi klopodas “afabligi” marĝenulon, vi nur plifortigas hierarkiojn.

Kompreneble mi povas aldoni eĉ pliajn, sed tiuj sufiĉu por nun. Eble en la estonteco venos dua parto.

Natural Gender in Klingon

Warning: Non-linguist talking about linguistics ahead.

Recently I started putting some time into learning Klingon, though I’m not capable of conversing in it and reading it is also very difficult still. My reason for wanting to learn it, more than anything else, is that it’s there.

Klingon is a language designed by linguist Marc Okrand for the Star Trek films, based essentially on a dialog written for the first film by James Doohan. It was deliberately written to be as unlike English as possible, and many of its features are also very unusual for human languages: for example its Object-Verb-Subject syntax is rare, though not unheard of. At the same time, none of its features are completely alien to human language, either.

One of the more common human-like characteristics of Klingon is the existence of gender. It’s important to note, however, that grammatical gender has nothing to do with masculinity and femininity per se. The word “gender” is ultimately derived from a Latin word that simply meant “class” or “category,” and has the same root as “genus.” While this root did have a reproductive meaning, this does not seem to be the meaning when applied to Latin words. Latin writers would talk about the “genera” of nouns but also the “genera” of verbs, by which they just meant “type,” since Latin verbs are not affected by gender, linguistic or colloquial.

From what I have read, mainly in the World Atlas of Language Structures (an extremely helpful resource for conlangers), the linguistic definition of a gender is a class of nouns with bearing on the inflection of other parts of speech (pronouns, verbs, adjectives, etc.). A language may distinguish between rational nouns (humans and gods) and non-rational nouns; or between animate nouns and inanimate nouns; or between 10 or more  categories such as plants, animals, concepts, etc. These are all genders, despite them saying nothing about masculinity and femininity. Not being a linguist, I am using the definition given by the World Atlas of Language Structures, but it’s controversial whether pronouns count. According to WALS, English has gender due to the effect that nouns have on the pronouns he, she, and it. It’s uncontroversial to say that English has natural gender, and so does Klingon.

Klingon distinguishes between (1) beings capable of using language; (2) everything else. The second gender is further differentiated into two classes: (1) body parts; (2) everything else, but this only has bearing on the inflection of the nouns themselves, specifically the formation of the plural. ghaH is the independent pronoun referring to any being capable of using language, while ‘oH is the independent pronoun referring to things and to beings incapable of language. There are also possessive pronominal suffixes, like in Hungarian, Hebrew, Arabic, and many other languages, which are influenced by the gender of the possessed noun. For example, to say “you are my loved one” you say “bangwI’ SoH.”  To say “it is my home,” you say “juHwIj ‘oH.”

It’s interesting to think about how the separation between beings capable of language and not capable of language conforms to the speciesism of Klingons, who have been shown on the series to dislike unintelligent animals such as tribbles and cats. It’s also interesting to consider the parallels this might have to the commonality of masculine and feminine genders in human languages.

Obviously this is all science fiction, but it’s interesting to think about. It also shows the many potentials for gender in conlangs beyond just masculine and feminine. It’s worth mentioning that, according to WALS, a little over half of the world’s languages have absolutely no gender distinctions in pronouns… which is interesting in the context of the debate over pronouns in international auxiliary languages. It’s interesting how many such languages distinguish some form of natural gender, even Lingua Franca Nova (people and things), despite gender’s lack of universality.

Sorry if this post rambled a bit, and if you read it, then thanks for reading.

Being Kindhearted in the Conlang World

Raye Chell Mahela

If there’s one thing that burns me out on conlangs super fast, it’s people being shitty to each other. It can be about anything – inter-conlang insulting, sexist comic strips translated into that conlang, insulting other peoples’ religions, anything.

Conlangs are spoken by human beings, and there will always be trouble when human beings are involved, but when your conlang’s thesis is around world peace, I’m always disappointed to find this kind of shit posted:

Various religious guys looking afraid of a brain

Really? We have this auxlang and many hope that it will be spoken around the world, and you’re a speaker of this language for whatever reason, but post shit like this?

This is why I’m an Atheist who generally doesn’t bother telling people I’m Atheist; because so many Atheists can be so “holier-than-thou” (ironic) than gigantic populations of people.

And even then – it doesn’t matter if this is what you think about these things, but to blatantly lack any sort of respect for other human beings by actively shitting on them just pisses me off.

Stop it.


 

bonkora

Be kind and be respectful towards each other.

Áya Dan Telegram Chatroom

Raye Chell Mahela

Telegram logo

Telegram is a modern instant messaging and chat room application, similar in ways to IRC but with more modern features like emoji, image sharing, and attachments.

You can download the app for your computer or mobile device at telegram.org

Afterward, you can come join us in the Áya Dan chatroom by opening this link with Telegram: https://telegram.me/joinchat/DUJ-GQqqiKN1H89XJSJToA

You can also find a lot of Esperanto chatrooms through telegramo.org

and there is also an Ido group at https://telegram.me/joinchat/Bb9aLQJfnwQSxa9Nr8QV6A

Esperanto Kansas City iras al la bestoĝardeno! — Paralela Universo 2016 (Esperanto)

Raye Chell Mahela

Nia loka grupo iris al la Kansas City Zoo por la Paralela Universo okazo!

Esperanto Kansas City:
https://www.facebook.com/groups/EsperantoKC/

Paralela Universo:
https://www.facebook.com/groups/691599730978382/